Binary Choices

This post is not about wine. At least not obviously. It is a little bit. But you’re going to have to read for a while before you get there.

We all hate binary choices. We search out people who can break outside the box, and find that one brilliant unseen choice. We write acres of columns about them in two dimensional games like chess and bridge and poker.

When someone you loves die, you are left in a horrid binary choice back test. What if you had done something differently then? What if you had said the unsaid? done the undone? Maybe it would have all ended differently.

But it can’t end differently. We are all dying. Some of us at a faster pace than others. I have tops 30 years to go. Some folks out there have 30 days or even 30 minutes. Once you grasp this, when you are trying to help someone you love all you can hope is to adjust the glide path. Maybe if you say this or that, you will lift the slope a degree. Or even if you cannot change the slope maybe you can add some degree of comfort.

It’s all an unknown. And even if it is known, still you question your decisions. Was it all a mistake when you walked away from university? Were graduate degrees all that you had to do? Or maybe in the last 10 years, once you finally grasped what his problems were you could have been more attentive. Maybe there was one more visit neglected or one more phone call avoided. The reality that unfolds from a binary choice has an infinity of bad outcomes possible. Outcomes that were your mistakes.

All my life I’ve not been good enough. From Grade One on, I was told I could have tried harder, done more, made things better. And I regret this one time that I didn’t.

So this isn’t about wine. at least not really. Tomorrow when you consider this drink or that, you will be making a choice. The choice that matters isn’t a 92 point wine versus an 88; nor is it a pinot versus a chianti. It is a choice to face up to the fact that expressing love with symbols is rather inadequate. Screw having a drink. Tell somebody you love them, that you’ll miss them. And maybe, if they didn’t have a bad commute, and the boss wasn’t horrible, and it didn’t piss down rain during their run, They’ll actually hear you and believe it. And then, and only then can you use a symbol, and get off with a rose or a glass of champagne.

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